Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

long reading of Holy Scripture, he said, had been drawn his religious opinions, and he dared not, for worldly considerations, to deny or dissemble principles impressed upon his mind by the writings of Apostles and Prophets k. A similar spirit was displayed by the imperial cities, which at

* Sleidan, 336. The following extracts from letters to the Protector written by Sir Philip Hoby, the English ambassador at the imperial court, bear honourable testimony to the Elector's exalted character. “ Grandvel also required, in the Emperor's name, that the Duke of Saxony, at that time the Emperor's prisoner, should promote this his desire for the peace of Germany; considering how well his Majesty had deserved at his hands by rendering his imprisonment easy. He piously answered, that his body was in the Emperor's hands, and he might use his carcase as it liked him, but he prayed his Majesty not to press him to yield to this, which was against the Word of God. Upon this, the Emperor, being offended, clapped upon him a guard of three hundred Spaniards more than he had before, and disarmed his servants of all their arms, and dismissed his servants, being seventy in number, reducing them to twenty-seven. His preacher was also sent away, upon pain of burning, if he stayed any longer. And his cooks and officers, upon the same pain, were commanded to dress no Aesh for him on Fridays and Saturdays, and other fasting-days. Yet herewith the Duke seemed so little moved, as there was no alteration perceived in him.” The Elector's religious knowledge was thus, in conversation with Hoby, attested by one of Charles's officers, Don Alonzo Videz. “ He said, he had talked and discoursed with him sundry times, and did very well perceive his stiff sticking to his opinion to proceed of no ignorance, or lack of knowledge, for he was witty, and even as well seen in the Scripture, and knew as much by that he had read in his mother-tongue, as all the whole heap of learned men in Germany could tell him.” Strype, Eccl. Mem. II, 174. VOL. III.

κk

first remonstrated, and afterwards refused to receive, as religious doctrines, the vain traditions of men, however exalted and formidable might be the authority which sought to fasten such excrescences upon God's recorded Word. But Charles was deaf to their representations, and he proceeded, by means of military violence, to force his thinly-varnished Popery upon these enlightened and virtuous communities. Unhappily they were detached and feeble: hence those of them alone which were seated on the northern extre. mity of Germany were enabled to maintain their religious liberties. Through the country generally, the new system was received with sullen acquiescence; opposition to it being paralysed by the power, the artifices, and the severities of the Emperor'. Under this miserable state of depression, the zealous friends of scriptural Christianity turned their eyes towards foreign lands, and many of them prepared to seek among strangers that freedom from human corruptions in the profession of religion which their native Germany denied them.

When Archbishop Cranmer was apprised of the disconsolate condition to which so many learned and conscientious divines were reduced, he generously determined upon offering an asylum to some individuals among them. In October, 1548,

1" The Emperor was bent, at the conclusion of the diet, to cause the Protestants to observe the Interim ; and he hath used both fair means and foul to bring this purpose to pass." Sir Philip Hoby to the Protector, ut supra.

accordingly, he wrote to Martin Bucer, an Alsatian of high theological reputation, inviting him to come over into England. At first this invitation was declined, but in the spring of the following year, both Bucer and Paul Fagius, a celebrated linguist, born in the Palatinate, arrived at Lambeth. The Archbishop had also about that time, under his hospitable roof, Peter Alexander, from Artois, Bernardin Ochin, a reclaimed Italian capuchin, Matthew Negelinus, afterwards a minister at Strasburg, John a Lasco, a noble Pole, and Peter Martyr", a Florentine of good family and eminent attainments, who had been compelled by the force of truth to renounce the monastic profession, and to turn his back upon the genial elime which reared his infancy". These victims of intolerance brought to the shores of England an ardent anxiety to promote that emancipation of the human mind, for which they were plainly called to labour both by their abilities, and by the circumstances of their age. Bucer and Fagius, aecordingly, spent their hours at Lambeth, at their excellent entertainer's desire, in studying the Sacred Scriptures; it being intended to pubtish the Word of God in a translation so exact as to defy the candid objections of any competent judge. Soon after their arrival, these two eminent scholars were attached to the University of Cambridge, Bucer being nominated professor of divinity there, Fagius of Hebrew. Their inten

• Melchior Adam.

Strype, Mem. Cranm. 279.

tions were to enter upon their official duties immediately after the long vacation, and until they could remove to Cambridge, both of them continued to partake of Cranmer's hospitality. While residing in his house, illness interrupted their studies. They were, however, impatient to be gone, and to commence the labours which they had undertaken. His honourable anxiety proved fatal to Fagius ; for, removing to Cambridge, when imperfectly convalescent, the damp air of that place aggravated his malady, and, after a short struggle, he sank into the tombo

Peter Martyr had superseded Dr. Richard Smyth, as regius professor of divinity, at Oxford, in the year 1548. His appointment gave great offence, and occasioned violent heats upon the question of transubstantiation. It was now understood, that a belief in that doctrine was the corner-stone of the papal system; hence the Reformers were intent upon attacking, the Romanists upon defending it. As nothing was more likely to wean the popular mind from this inveterate error than to shew its comparative recency, Ratramn's important tract was published with the royal privilege in the course of the last year. Evi

Strype, Mem. Cranm. 282. P Mr. Todd, in his introduction to Archbishop Cranmer's work upon the Sacrament, has, in a note, (vii.) inserted the following citation from Ames respecting Ratramn's book : It was printed " By J. Raynalde, in 1548, and by A. Kitson, in 1549." The London edition, however, of 1686, assigns its first appearance in English to the year 1549, and says, that the translation was either made by Bp. Ridley, or by his advice.

[ocr errors]

dently this remarkable piece attracted immediately considerable attention, for a reprint of it appeared before the present year closed. All men were thus enabled to satisfy themselves, that transubstantiation could be no doctrine of the ancient Catholic Church; since they saw, that so lately as in the ninth century, a divine of high reputation, in communion with Rome, not only controverted that doctrine as a pernicious innovation, but even intimated, that the most illustrious prince of his age must reject it, if he wished to think as a Catholic. But no testimony, however irrefragable, affects the pertinacity of some minds. Rather are they confirmed in any prepossession by the force of the opposition by which it is assailed.

Martyr first endeavoured to shake the Oxonians in their belief of transubstantiation, by lecturing upon the 11th chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians ? What he said gave great

. Strype, Mem. Cranm. 279. It is probable that Martyr, who was a man of eminent modesty, and who must bave been well aware of the prejudices prevailing around him, lectured upon this portion of Scripture with great moderation. For Sanders, who says that he was among his hearers, represents him as wavering between the Lutheran and the Zuinglian doctrines. This conduct he attributes to his ignorance of the course which Cranmer and the Parliament might require him to adopt. (De Schism. Anglic. Ingolstad. 1588, p. 203.) Unfortunately, however, for the credit of this historian, Cranmer had abandoned the carnal presence before Martyr's appointment to the divinity chair at Oxford; and the Parliament, by authorising a new Communion service, evidently might be expected to follow as the Archbishop

« ZurückWeiter »